One-day cricket is becoming increasingly popular in the eighties. Jones was far ahead of his time. It would not have happened then, as it is now four or six. Jones then made his own one-day statement.
September 1986 Went to Madras (now Chennai). To cover the India-Australia Test. The weather in Calcutta then became quite mild. But it is very hot in Madras. Deadly humidity. Let’s see Dean Jones for the first time. A boy with a sleek look. The next few days I realized how stubborn he could be.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to succeed on Indian soil. Adapt quickly to the condition. Spin game. And patience. Jones was impeccable in all three cases. There were three good spinners in the Indian team then – Moninder Singh, Ravi Shastri, Shivlal Yadav. Jones had no problem handling them. Spin played smoothly. For great footwork. More importantly, patient batting. Playing an innings of 210 in the scorching heat of Madras was not easy. He became dehydrated in the heat. He was vomiting many times while batting. The opener formed a partnership with Boone and later Border. Physically devastated, Jones could no longer bat. Captain Border motivated him. Jones had to be taken straight to the hospital after being out.
After the match, I talked about Australia’s legendary manager Bobby Simpson. “I was a tie Test player against the West Indies in the sixties,” he said. I stayed in this tie test as a manager again. Admittedly, Jones is my best innings among Australians.
That Test in Madras gave Jones a solid place in the Australian team. To put it better, Australia got the cricketers to give success to the wickets of the subcontinent. Jones made full use of it in the One Day World Cup the following year. Seeing the gap, playing singles continuously changed the conventional style of one-day cricket. That trend was later adopted by many. Running Between the Wickets was the best at that time. I have never seen such a running between the wickets except Asif Iqbal and Javed Miandad. There were also impossibly good fielders. He could field anywhere, but outfield was his favorite. Eden still remembers him for his 33-run innings in the 1986 World Cup final. Boone made 85 in front of us that day, Jones played an effective innings. I remember him for that.
I got to know Jones better after he left cricket. For his cricket knowledge. To make cricket easier to understand. But the controversial character. Dumdum has commented many times. Which had some effect on his career? Otherwise, the ODI career would have been longer. There is also controversy over commentary. Hashim suddenly made offensive remarks about Amla. But he is like that.
I was wondering what will happen in the match of Virat Kohli’s team on Thursday, then I got the bad news – Jones is no more. 59 is any age!